The Ultimate Guide – How to Wash White Clothes


You’d think that doing laundry isn’t rocket science. Just dump clothes in the washer, add some detergent and whoosh! Your fresh clothes are ready. But things aren’t as simple as they appear. If not done accurately, washing clothes can strip them of their natural shine, destroy the fabric texture and get a colour transfer, especially in clean white clothes. Remember – how your school uniform would look a bit blue or pink some days? That’s because it was accidentally washed with a coloured garment. To ensure that any such laundry mishaps don’t happen, here are some tips on how to wash white clothes.

Separate the whites in your load

Remember, white clothes can catch a faded shade of other garments and often start looking a bit dull and greyish. The only way to avoid any such incidents is to ensure that you separate white garments into a separate group from the laundry load. Also remember, white clothes need washing after every wear. Otherwise, you might start to notice dirt tracks on the collar and cuffs or sweat marks.

Pre-treat stains

Whether you have dropped some curry on your white garment or accidentally ended up being the victim of a mud splash, pre-treatment of stains is an important step to preserve the colouration of the cloth. If your usually go-to stain removal agent is chlorine bleach, you can end up doing more damage to the fabric structure. Occasional use of bleach will ultimately lessen the lifespan of the garment. Other safe alternatives you can pick include sodium borate, hydrogen peroxide or baking soda. You can also use chlorine-free or oxygen-based bleach to wash white clothes every once in a while.

If none of the above-mentioned cleaning agents is available, you can use liquid detergent, colourless shampoo or even dishwashing liquid. Just take some of it on an old toothbrush and rub it over the stained portion of the garment. This method works for perspiration and grease stains.

Wash in warm water

The best possible option would be to check the manufacturer’s tag for clear instructions. However, if that option is not available, warm water is a safe bet in the case of white clothes. Remember, your goal is to treat clothes with the warmest possible option but not high enough to be considered as heat. Set the washing machine on a normal or heavy-duty setting based on the intensity of stains and discolouration.

Check for stains after wash

Now, that your clothes are out of the wash and rinse cycle, check every garment carefully. Ensure that there are no leftover detergent particles or stains. Putting unclean clothes in the dryer can result in permanent damage. If there are some stains remaining, redo the process of stain pre-treatment and washing.

Dry in sun

Firstly, note that damp clothes are not left in the washer for too long. This can lead to the development of unwanted mouldy smells. Try to hang clothes in direct sunlight for the drying process. The ultraviolet rays will keep your whites crisp and shiny. If not possible, put clothes in the dryer in a low-heat setting. A high-heat setting can lead to white clothes getting yellow.

Some white clothes washing tips you must know

  • Never overload the washer. It might seem easy to just deal with a big wash load in one cycle but it is not the most effective of manners. This leads to overcrowding and garments aren’t able to get rid of the dirt properly.
  • Don’t add an excessive amount of detergent. Remember, your clothes aren’t clean unless they are free of any impurities. This also means that if you add extra detergent, your clothes are still soapy and therefore, not clean.
  • If clothes are extra dirty and might need some sort of laundry booster, add half a cup of squeezed lemon into a bucket of hot water. Soak your clothes overnight. In the morning, wash them normally. Lemon is an organic bleaching agent that will help loosen up the dirt particles in the fabric.
  • If you get hard water in your area, use borax. Borax acts as a natural water softener and will make your clothes look more white and bright.
  • For delicates or sheer blouses, prefer to hand wash white clothes. Check the manufacturer’s tag for specific instructions. If not available, wash them in cold water and lay horizontally for drying.


White clothes are responsible for some of the best fashion statements and unfortunately, stain disasters. It is hard to prevent your crisp white clothes from some extra dirt or sweat along the way. You might even end up getting an ink stain or a curry drop on the collars and cuffs. While we love to flaunt our white garments, it is equally necessary to take proper care while washing them. The above-mentioned guide on how to wash white clothes will help you get started in the right direction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1 – What are some of the common ways of getting white clothes brighter?

Answer 1 – For bright white clothes, you can add some lemon juice or baking soda as a laundry booster. Another thing to watch out for is that your washing machine needs to be clean. A dirty washing machine can undo all your efforts very easily. Every couple of months, clean your washing machine.

Question 2 – Can I use chlorine bleach to wash whites?

Answer 2 – No, you should not go for chlorine bleach to wash clothes regularly. It is a strong chemical agent that destroys the fabric network in your garment, thus leading to less durability. Overuse of bleach can also lead to unwanted yellowing of garments. Instead, choose oxygen-based bleach or natural organic agents like borax.

Question 3 – What are some of the common tips and tricks to wash whites?

Answer 3 – Using a bluing agent can help increase the whiteness of clothes. If your clothes have a bit of yellowish tinge, adding a dash of blue will neutralize the shade and make the cloth look much cleaner.